Free agency begins on July 1 but rumors are already linking the Los Angeles Lakers to several of the top available players. The latest name to be linked to the Lakers is unrestricted free agent big man Greg Monroe. That Lakers are one of several teams that have shown "serious interest" in the Detroit Pistons big man, according to Darrell Williams of The Advocate.
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The Lakers are expected to focus on signing one of the many free agent big men on the open market this summer. The Pistons, meanwhile, may have acquired Monroe's replacement at power forward when they acquired Ersan Ilyasova from the Milwaukee Bucks. Monroe, like the Lakers preferred target LaMarcus Aldridge, is naturally a power forward. It's possible he could spend time as a center, but similarly, he's best suited to play with a rim-protecting center next to him.
He'd still be an upgrade in talent for the Lakers, so it makes sense that the front office will explore what kind of options they have with Monroe. Since he has less than seven years of experience, he is only eligible for a 25 percent maximum-level contract, making him one of the "cheaper" players that could fetch top dollar. This would allow the Lakers additional flexibility to add to the roster this summer.
Greg is looking for a "team that's ready to win," and expects to meet with five teams next week, according to Williams:
Five teams have shown serious interest — the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. Monroe said he'll meet with those teams this week.
"I'm looking to be with a team that's ready to win," said Monroe during a timeout at his youth basketball clinic Saturday morning at the Delgado Community College gymnasium. "Hopefully it will be a team where I'm the missing piece."
If Monroe is looking to be the "missing piece" for a team, the Lakers don't exactly match the description. Drafting D'Angelo Russell was a big step forward, but the Lakers are still in the process of getting their ducks in a row for the future.